Affirmative Defenses to Certain Sexual Crimes in Georgia
Affirmative defenses are used to explain or justify the behavior that is alleged to be criminal. Using an affirmative defense does not mean that the accused did not commit the crime. Instead, it is used to justify or excuse the criminal act. Furthermore, certain affirmative defenses can be used specifically when charged with trafficking a person for sexual servitude.
A person shall not be guilty of a sexual crime if the conduct upon which the alleged criminal liability is based was committed by an accused who was .. acting under coercion or deception while the accused was being trafficked for sexual servitude in violation of O.C.G.A. §16-5-46.
In sum, if charged with trafficking for sexual servitude, coercion or deception will be an affirmative defense the accused could use to reduce or exculpate themself from criminal liability.
The Affirmative Defense of Coercion
Under O.C.G.A. §16-5-46(a)(1), coercion means:
(A) Causing or threatening to cause bodily harm to any individual, physically restraining or confining any individual, or threatening to physically restrain or confine any individual;
(B) Exposing or threatening to expose any fact or information or disseminating or threatening to disseminate any fact or information that would tend to subject an individual to criminal or immigration proceedings, hatred, contempt, or ridicule;
(C) Destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of any individual;
(D) Providing a controlled substance to such individual for the purpose of compelling such individual to engage in labor or sexual servitude against his or her will; or
(E) Causing or threatening to cause financial harm to any individual or using financial control over any individual.
Therefore, if the accused presents evidence that supports they were coerced into engaging in sexual servitude, they may be acquitted of the charges.
The Affirmation Defense of Deception
Under O.C.G.A. §16-5-46(a)(3), deception means:
(A) Creating or confirming another's impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false;
(B) Maintaining the status or condition of an individual arising from a pledge by such individual of his or her personal services as security for a debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined, or preventing an individual from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of such debt; or
(C) Promising benefits or the performance of services which the accused does not intend to deliver or perform or knows will not be delivered or performed. Evidence of failure to deliver benefits or perform services standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction under this Code section.
Similarly to coercion, the accused must demonstrate that they were deceived into being trafficked in sexual servitude and they will not be criminally liable.
How a Georgia Affirmative Defense Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with certain sex crimes and believe an affirmative defense applies in your case, you need an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney. Just because coercion or deception may have occurred in your situation does not mean it automatically applies, and the charges are dropped. It takes time to investigate your case and comb through the evidence to ensure that the proof supports the affirmative defense. There must be appropriate and sufficient evidence to support the argument. Our affirmative defense lawyers are part of Georgia's premier criminal defense firm, and we understand all the intricacies of the justice system. We will walk you through every step of the process and prepare the strongest case possible for your defense.
Contact Us Now
Proving an affirmative defense applies in your case can be difficult and time-consuming. Many lawyers would rather make a half-hearted attempt and then have you plead guilty while charging you top dollar. However, the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lawson and Berry have over 50 years of criminal experience and will diligently advocate on your behalf. We will explore every defense that could apply to your case and be fully prepared to negotiate a plea or take the case to trial. Trust your case to someone who cares just as much as you do! We want you to have a better future, and we understand that affirmative defenses can help you achieve the outcome you desire. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.